|TideSports College Football Preview|
Following an up-and-down year for Georgia, second-year coach Kirby Smart strives for consistency while balancing the high expectations for this year’s team.
“When you come to the University of Georgia, the expectation is to win championships,” Smart said. “That’s what we expect to do at the University of Georgia, and that’s the standard we’ll be held to.”
Georgia was a tale of two teams a season ago. They won their first three games, then dropped four of the next five, before winning four of their last five contests.
Georgia returns one of the nations most elusive running back duos in senior Nick Chubb and senior Sony Michel. Chubb, who is the second leading rusher in Georgia history, rushed for 1,130 yards and eight touchdowns last season, while Michel carried the ball for 840 yards.
‘The attitude is the standard is high,” Michel said. “Nick and I are seniors so we have been down this road before. This is not our first rodeo so we just have to take what comes with it, embrace it, and take it to the team and lead. This is our chance to try to lead our team and lead them to something great.”
Georgia returns junior linebacker Roquan Smith, who had 95 tackles and five tackles for loss a season ago, looks to be the leader of the defense.
“I would say I try to lead by example,” Smith said at SEC Media Days this summer. “A lot of guys want to be great so they look up to me and watch the way I go about my things, and the way I work, and I think that speaks for itself.”
Georgia opens the season against Appalachian State, followed by a trip to Notre Dame.
Sept. 2; Appalachian State
Sept. 9; at Notre Dame
Sept. 16; Samford
Sept. 23; Mississippi State
Sept. 30; at Tennessee
Oct. 7; at Vanderbilt
Oct. 14; Missouri
Oct. 28; Florida (Jacksonville)
Nov. 4; South Carolina
Nov. 11; at Auburn
Nov. 18; Kentucky
Nov. 25; at Georgia Tech
2016 Record: 8-8 (4-4 Conf./2nd in SEC East)
All-time SEC championships: 12
All-time bowl appearances: 52 (30-19-3)
Sept. 3; North Carolina; W 33-24
Sept. 10; Nicholls; W 26-24
Sept. 17; Missouri; W 28-27
Sept. 24; Ole Miss; L 14-45
Oct. 1; Tennessee; L 31-34
Oct. 9; South Carolina; W 28-24
Oct. 15; Vanderbilt; L 16-17
Oct. 29; Florida; L 10-24*
Nov. 5; Kentucky; W 27-24
Nov. 12; Auburn; W 13-7
Nov. 19; Louisiana-Lafayette; W 35-21
Nov. 26; Georgia Tech; L 27-28
Dec. 30; TCU; W 31-23+
+AutoZone Liberty Bowl
Starters returning: 21
Starters Lost: 5